EXCLUSIVE: Forest Whitaker is in negotiations to helm The Shack, the adaptation of the bestselling William Paul Young novel that Summit Entertainment acquired in April 2013. Whitaker would also play a supporting role in the movie, which is being written by John Fusco and produced by Gill Netter and Brad Cummings. The logline: In the aftermath of a devastating personal tragedy, Mackenzie Allen Philips receives a mysterious note in his mailbox inviting him to The Shack. The letter is signed Papa, his wife’s nickname for God. Mack responds and finds himself in the presence of God, and a life-transforming journey of truth, forgiveness, and ultimately acceptance. The book was a global hit after it was self-published in 2007. Lionsgate Motion Picture president Michael Paseornek is overseeing the pic with Matthew Janzen and Bree Bailey.
Whitaker, the Oscar winner who most recently starred in Lee Daniels’ The Butler and was a producer on Fruitvale Station, is in the process of lining up what to do next. He is also in discussions to join Liam Neeson in Taken 3, which Olivier Megaton will direct. His own directing credits include 2004’s First Daughter starring Katie Holmes, 1998’s romantic drama Hope Floats and 1995’s Waiting To Exhale adapted from Terry McMillan’s novel. Whitaker is repped by WME.